Today is the day you finally get to finish reading “A Reluctant Thief”! I know you have all been waiting impatiently for the conclusion to this story (okay, you probably haven’t been, but I’ll just pretend.) I had an entire month to write the rest of the story, so what do I do? I write it the week it’s supposed to be published.
If you didn’t read the first part of the story, go back and read it, otherwise this part won’t make a whole lot of sense. Without further delay, here is the conclusion to “A Reluctant Thief” :).
A Reluctant Thief (Part 2)
Jonathan fell backward when the blade flew toward him. It missed his neck by centimeters. He couldn’t win this fight. A poor farmer who’s never held a sword—let alone fought someone—against a trained guard. But he must try, for his family. He raised his weapon and took a deep breath. The guard stood a couple feet away with her sword raised. What was she waiting for? Jonathan didn’t wait another moment, and moved around his opponent. If he could catch her off guard then he might stand a chance.
She remained still, it seemed like she didn’t realize he had moved. Jonathan took extra care to ensure he was light on his feet. If the guard’s senses were truly better because of her blindness, even his footsteps could give him away.
“I have given you ample time to attack me, Jonathan. Are you such a coward you won’t fight for the same cause you would steal for?” The guard taunted.
A reply burned in his throat, but he couldn’t say a word lest he wished to die this day. Jonathan halted directly behind her and paused. What if she didn’t turn around in time to defend herself? He couldn’t cut down a woman. He glanced at the sword, and an idea blossomed in his mind. White knuckled and trembling, Jonathan stepped forward and raised the blade. The pommel raced toward the guard’s head. Suddenly, the woman whipped around, dodged his blow, and kicked his feet out from under him. For the second time that day, Jonathan stiffened under the cold touch of metal at his throat. He swallowed hard.
“I have to admit, that was a decent try, for a farmer.” The guard stepped back and sheathed her sword.
Jonathan gaped at her, “How did you know I’m a farmer?”
She grinned, “I can smell it on you.”
The guard began to walk toward him, a rope in her hands.
“Wait!” Jonathan proclaimed. “Can I at least say goodbye to my family?”
“You should have done that before you decided to steal from the crown.” She answered coldly.
“Please! I have already failed to provide them enough food. Let me at least tell them one last time how much I love them.” Jonathan begged.
She hesitated at this. A frown formed on her lips. After a moment, she shoved the rope into her pocket.
“We’ll see what the queen has to say.”
“Thank you.” He sighed.
The woman walked past him toward the carriage, “Don’t thank me yet.”
“What?” The response came in the form of a hard blow to his head, and the world went dark.
Pain pulsed through his head when Jonathan woke. Was he dead? It certainly felt like death. He looked around, and was relieved to find himself in a cell. If he had died then he would surely be in the fiery pits of hell for his crimes against the crown. A layer of moldy straw covered the floor, and behind him a bench was attached to the wall. The only light provided to him came from the torch directly outside his cell. Jonathan sat up, wincing as he straightened. That guard hit him good.
Footsteps echoed in the hall outside his cell, and Jonathan rose on shaky legs. He must speak with his family before he was hanged.
“Help! Please, I must speak with my family!” Jonathan gripped the bars on his small window in the door.
The prison guard glanced at him as he passed, but didn’t say a word.
Panic flared, “Please! I must speak with them before I die!”
A door slammed shut somewhere down the hall. Jonathan took a step back and sat on the bench. He mustn’t lose hope. There must be a reason he wasn’t already dead. Surely, he would already be hanged if they didn’t plan to let him see his family. His head fell into his hands, and he hoped that was the case.
“So, you are the farmer my captain of the guard has told me so much about.” A voice broke through Jonathan’s thoughts.
He looked at the face in the window to his cell door, and sighed. The guard—captain of the guard—kept her word.
“Your highness.” Jonathan stood from the bench and bowed low.
“Rise.” She commanded.
Jonathan straightened, and studied the queen. A veil hung over her face, masking her expression.
“Please explain something to me Jonathan.”
“Anything, your highness.”
“You show me the proper respect now when I stand in front of you, but neglected to show that same respect toward my possessions. Why is that?”
Jonathan looked down, ashamed of himself.
“Well?” The queen prompted when he didn’t answer.
“My family,” he began. “There wasn’t enough rain this season, and our crops failed. My wife and children are starving. I thought if I could get my hands on at least five gold coins we would have enough to eat for a year.”
He refused to look at the queen when he spoke. Too ashamed to lift his face. There was silence for a moment, then the queen spoke again, “Jonathan, look at me.”
Jonathan obeyed. His eyes found the queen, and widened as she pulled away the veil. Beneath the black covering lie the misty eyes of the captain of the guard.
“You’re the captain of the guard?”
“Yes, it allows me to spend some time outside of the castle.” The queen smiled.
He sat back down, and tried to sort out his thoughts.
“Jonathan, I understand now that your crime was out of desperation. I have taken this into consideration concerning your punishment,” she paused and Jonathan looked at her. “I have decided not to have you hanged.”
“Thank you! Bless you!” Jonathan gasped and sprang from the bench.
“But, I cannot let your crime go unpunished. You will remain in this cell for a month. While you are here, your family will be well provided for, and they may visit you as much as they like.”
Jonathan fell to his knees, tears streamed down his face.
“You are most gracious, you’re highness. Thank you for your mercy. I am forever in your debt.” Jonathan blubbered.
“Yes, you are. So, I suggest you stop speaking before I change my mind.” The queen quipped, and Jonathan smiled when the captain of the guard peeked through the queen’s persona.
“I am going to assume you’re nodding in agreement. Your family is waiting to see you outside the dungeon.”
The lock on the door clicked and his cell door creaked open. Jonathan rushed out of the cell, and almost embraced the queen.
“They are waiting behind the door at the end of the hall.” She pointed toward Jonathan’s right.
He hesitated, “Go on, what are you waiting for?”
Jonathan smiled, and didn’t wait another moment. He raced down the hall and burst through the door to find his beautiful family waiting for him.
What do you think? Did the ending satisfy you, or would you have liked a little bit more of the story? How do you think I did with writing a story through a man’s point of view? Please give any, and all, feedback!
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